Why the news about Tesco Bank today doesn’t surprise me!

There’s a headline on the BBC that has caught my eye today – “Tesco Bank blames ‘systematic sophisticated attack’ for account losses” – and I’m not at all surprised given my experience back in 2009 when I had a Tesco Bank credit card account.

In 2006, before I got my first proper (full time) job, I opened a credit card account with Tesco. Once the card arrived and all was well, I proceeded to set up online banking as it’s the most convenient method of operating accounts and gave the new account a unique password – as I do for all my accounts!

Roll on 2009 – I got home from work one day to find an envelope from Tesco Bank with a copy (not the original) of one of my statements… A brief “Huh?” moment and thought nothing of it, shredded it and forgot about it.

Then a while later I received a second copy of one of my statements and alarm bells rang!!

I rang Tesco Bank, asked why I’d recevied a copy of my statement, to which the advisor said they didn’t know, but I ordered it. I asked the advisor what the date and time was and I was given a date and time while I was sitting in a clients meeting room regarding a project we were working on… I was not impressed. I questioned how it was possible given that I was in that meeting with no phone or internet and was advised that perhaps I’d given my account details to someone else!! To which I replied, you have a problem with security and I want to close my account now.

I was never asked any further questions by the advisor and no one ever contacted me afterwards, so I can only assume the advisor thought I was nutty… but I know for a fact that the account details were never shared, unique and very unlikely to have been guessed.

Tracking your investments

I started my pension pot when I got my first job in 2007. Back then I just had a high savings account and put aside a set amount each month. This worked well, but the temptation can be quite high to spend the money. When I got my current job, my employer offers a pension scheme where by the employer matches the employees contribution (up to 5%). It’s a no-brainer really, so I signed up.

The pension is with Scottish Life and provides the employee the option to choose the funds that their money get invested in. It’s good to be offered such choice, but also a pain when it goes down hill as you can only blame your own choices 🙂 Last Christmas I decided that I really needed to see how each of the funds I’ve invested in were doing, after all, I check my bank accounts nearly daily and getting a statement on my pension yearly is exceedingly frustrating!

I found a good website that allowed you to sign up for free and add the funds and how much you had invested. It gave basic information on the fund and how it’s performance was going. It was going fine until the newspaper company which ran/owned the site shut it down…

I couldn’t go back to just viewing my pension statement once a week so went on the look for an alternative site. A lot of sites around charge for the functionality I had previously, but I finally found that the ft.com website offered exactly the same functionality and more for free!

So what do you get on ft.com?

Well you get the ability to see your portfolios at a glance:

Drilling into a particular portfolio will give you a breakdown of the investments and how they are currently performing:

Each individual investment (in the above image – only funds) can be drilled into to see how the investment is held and the performance over a set period of time:

All of the reporting which ft.com offers is only possible if you fill it in with the records of the transactions you’ve made to your investments and this is the only area where the website is let down.

As you can see from the above image, if you have a lot of history on your investment, it’s going to take you time to input it all. The website would really benefit from a bulk input form and being a little bit more clever about the input a user can type…

Other than that, it’s a fantastic free investment tracking website and I’d recommend it any day!